The Importance of Our Climate and Culture


Dear VCU and VCU Health System Communities,


At VCU and VCU Health System, we have an awesome mission: to educate, create, discover, heal, and innovate. It is a mission that enriches communities and allows people to reach their full potential. Everything we do, from the student experience to patient care, is about caring for people. Caring for people also drives our culture and climate. How we treat one another not only makes a difference, it defines who we are.

We strive to ensure that VCU and VCU Health System is a great place for all people. That means being a place of inclusion and appreciation, where we treat one another with civility and compassion and provide for the safety, wellbeing, and success of all of our community members. It means being a place of the highest integrity, where we uphold our core values, codes of conduct, and policies at all times.

As members of the VCU and VCU Health System Communities, we have a particularly important responsibility to provide programs, services, and activities free of discrimination. We stand firm in our commitment to address concerns with respect and dignity and to support people impacted by sexual abuse, assault, harassment, and other forms of discrimination. We will never tolerate any such acts by a member of our community, in accordance with our Sexual Misconduct/Violence and Sex/Gender Discrimination Policy, our new Preventing and Responding to Discrimination Policy and other applicable policies, which are located in the VCU policy library. We also will take all appropriate steps to report sexual violence to law enforcement.

Reporting at Virginia Commonwealth University

While managers, supervisors, and Human Resources employees have specific reporting responsibilities set forth in the policy, most university employees are obliged to report possible incidents of sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and partner or relationship violence (including stalking). These reports should be made to the university’s Title IX coordinator, Laura Walsh Rugless, through any of the following channels:

Reports must be made, even when the accused is unknown or unaffiliated with VCU, and regardless of whether an incident may have occurred on or off campus, including in an off-campus residence or at an internship or clinical or field placement. If you are uncertain whether to report, make the report.

Additional reporting and support resources include:

  • For sexual assault, abuse, and other potential crimes, contact VCU Police at 804-828-1234.
  • For off-campus emergencies, contact 9-1-1.
  • For more information about VCUPD, including the You Have Options Program, visit
  • For students who wish to speak with a confidential university advocate, contact
  • The VCU Helpline provides an anonymous reporting option and ensures that information is addressed by the appropriate university official.

More information about university and community resources is available on the Equity and Access Services Resources Page found here.

More information about VCU’s commitment to Title IX can be found on the Equity and Access Services Title IX Page here.

For everyone at VCU to understand their Title IX responsibilities, all students and employees are required to complete the online Not Anymore training. The student training deadline is September 14. The employee deadline is within 30 days of hire. Information about the training has been sent to your VCU email; student FAQs are located at and employee FAQs are located at

Reporting at VCU Health System

Like their counterparts at VCU, VCU Health System managers/supervisors also have a duty to report violations of policy. All other Health System employees are encouraged to report any and all potential issues as well. VCU Health System reporting and support resources include:

  • The employees’ supervisors
  • VCU Health System Human Resources
    • VCU Health System Employee Relations, 804-628-4748
    • HR4U, 804-628-HR4U (4748)
  • Virginia Premier Employee Relations, 804-819-5151, ext. 31940 or vphphrengage@vapremier
  • Office of General Counsel, 804-828-9010
  • Patient Relations for patient-related matters, 804-628-0400

Additionally, VCU Health Systems and Virginia Premier HR departments are actively promoting training and development. VCUHS and VPHP team members should reach out to their respective HR departments for additional resources and training.

If you want to help and don’t know how, contact the above resources for guidance.

Everyone has the opportunity to learn from an expert in the field, Peter F. Lake, at 2:15 p.m. Sept. 7 in the University Student Commons, Commonwealth Ballroom B. If you have any questions, contact

I will continue to communicate with you throughout the year about the importance of our culture and climate, and additional learning opportunities will be made available. I am proud of our culture and climate of respect and civility, and I thank you for your work to ensure that VCU and VCU Health System is a welcoming place for all people.



Michael Rao


VCU and VCU Health System